Tuesday, October 24, 2006
ESPN -- Are you ready for some Nascar?
Last night the Dallas Cowboys made their first appearance on the icon known as Monday Night Football. Not that I am a big 'Cowboy' fan, this did give me an opportunity to watch this production from start to finish for the first time this season and since ESPN took over MNF.
Realizing the ESPN will also be taking over a portion of Nascar broadcasts next season, and also realizing how their broadcasts have a somewhat 'legendary' status among many of the Nascar faithful, it was time to see a few things.
Starting with the pre-game, even there it seems that ESPN is searching for a story, with any 'angle' they can come up with be it something that is legitimate, or simply sensationalism. We see this same type of thing in College Football with 'ESPN Gameday' productions. There is already enough of this type of thing with the Speed Channel's 'Nascar This Morning' productions. I could be wrong on this, but it seems that Nascar fans just want the facts in their most basic forms. No flashy graphics, no 'Susie Kolber man voice' sideline interviews in which there is little substance and sometimes have nothing to do with the event, but because a celebrity was in attendance, the producers felt it was interview worthy. Meanwhile, a play or two is missed because of this, can you wonder how the Nascar Faithful will flame if the 'big one' is missed because of a 'garage interview' with some rock star?
The almost mythical legend that some Nascar fans have put on the old ESPN broadcasts is something that the new show's producers are going to have to live up too. After all, according to many of these fans, 'old ESPN' never missed a restart, took fewer commercial breaks and didn't only focus on a handful of cars at the front of the pack. Frankly, those assumptions cannot be further from the truth, and one only has to watch a couple of 'ESPN Classic' broadcasts to see that. While their productions in the 80s were truly innovative, they were little different from what we have today.
If I had one wish that the new ESPN production crew would grant, that would be for ESPN to not try and re-invent the wheel. No matter how hard one tries, that wheel is not going to get any rounder. ESPN is making that mistake with Monday Night Football, I hope they learn their lesson come next fall when they take over some Nascar Broadcasts.